Sep. 30th, 2009

starlady: (mokona crossing)
Wow, it's finally the end.

I have some people to thank--namely, [livejournal.com profile] chibiyuuto, [livejournal.com profile] ladydarkmoon, and [livejournal.com profile] nokiirat, for getting me onto LJ and into Clamp fandom--and everyone who's read my translations and commented. I always feel awkward about being thanked, but really, thank you.


The end is where we start from. )
starlady: (akidzuki)
So I just mainlined the entirety of the anime "Mouryou no Hako" in about two days. It only has 13 episodes (the last of which sadly has not been subbed, but I found the raw and understood the gist of it), but it's pretty complex. And awesome.

The plot is rather complicated, but it involves the disappearance of one schoolgirl and the murder of several others in and around Tokyo in 1952 (when the Occupation ended). The murders are investigated by a loose group of (male) friends and war buddies who are now private investigators, reporters, novelists, detectives, and onmyouji.

The character designs are by CLAMP (just one pretty aspect of a pretty anime) and frankly I was expecting, well, something like Tokyo Babylon I guess: monster of the week with some m/m innuendo. That is not what this anime is (though the first episode is one of the more enthusiastic depictions of yuri that I've seen in a while). Instead--of course--it's about the war, and about war crimes and the chickens of war that do come home to roost. The metaphor is crap, but I should hope the point suffices--Sekiguchi, the novelist, suffers from depression and possibly PTSD, both of which are almost certainly a result of his experiences in the war, when he was the lieutenant of now-Detective Kiba, who still has dreams about all the people who died. The onmyouji, Kyogokudou, spent his war service researching forced conversion alongside scientists trying to create immortal soldiers. The better to conquer and assimilate you with, my dear!

So, obviously, there's quite a number of parallels with Fullmetal Alchemist here (Unit 731 even gets a shout-out by name), though of course that's because the mouryou of the war remains unexorcised, unlike most of the mouryou (specters? demons?) in the anime itself. I did, however, detect a possible reference to Studio Ghibli--the research facility at which a good deal of the action takes place is in Mitaka, and there's a kid who looks exactly like the brother in Grave of the Fireflies (which let's not forget in Japanese is Hotaru no Hako) in a couple of the early episodes. It's no secret that Miyazaki's love of flight was inspired by his father's factory, which made Zero warplanes. Anime and manga are at least latently complicit in, since they arose out of, the Japanese imperial/national project, and I think this anime recognizes that fact.

The anime is actually based on the book of the same name by Kyogoku Natsuhiko. The first book, Summer of the Ubume, has just been released by Vertical, and you can bet I'll be checking it out.

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